Even though I live in Ohio where it snows every other day and is 70 degrees the next for no real reason, there is a local arboretum with a cypress swamp in it.
To my mind, cypress swamps involve Southern climates, dangling moss, and large reptiles. However the Dawes Arboretum maintains a small corner of swamp in their vast acreage of otherwise expected rolling hills, wildflower meadows, forests, and lakes. (It’s beautiful and free admission though donations are nice.)
According to the signs I read on a previous visit, spring was when at least three types of salamanders exited the local woods, shimmied into the cypress swamp, put on some Barry White, and got busy with other salamanders.
If I didn’t get to see MomBert’s foxen during this weekend’s visit then by God I wanted to see salamanders doin’ it! I deserve that!
Unfortunately, all I got to see was the proverbial happy ending. The salamander wet spot if you will.
The startled employee at the visitor’s center confirmed that the salamanders had done it. In fact, the tentative doing it date was actually on the arboretum’s calendar for February! These critters need very specific conditions to really get in the mood. Uggghh! Had I known!
I was expecting a free love salamander orgy, but just got egg masses. Once I identified the first mass, I could suddenly see that they were all over the place. Do not bring a black light to this swamp!
My visit then became more of a photography challenge . Distance from the boardwalk, breezes across the water, and reflections made things tough. My camera wanted to focus on the reflections of the trees more than anything else which made for some cool, but “what the hell am I looking at?” types of photos. Also, I was trying my damnedest not to tip over into the muck or drop my phone, camera, or keys into it. Success!
I think the idea is NOT to have your camera or phone in the picture, but then…too fascinated by my own reflection.
And I didn’t even fall in.